How to define a direction for your business Featured

8:01pm EDT September 30, 2011
Gregg Solomon Gregg Solomon

As the recession tightened the noose around the business world in 2008 and 2009, most businesses were forced into a reactionary mode. Long-range plans were scrapped in the name of evasive maneuvers and survival tactics. But even in the darkest days of the recession, you probably knew that there would be a point when the economic skies would be brighter, and you’d need to plan for the long-term future of your business again.

As the economy slowly recovers, that time is drawing closer. You are starting to gain a feel for how your business will need to operate three years and five years from now.

Over the course of the year, Smart Business has spoken with a number of Detroit-area CEOs on how to build and execute a strategic plan. Here are what three of them had to say.

“You really need to be able to understand what your checkpoints are along the way in any process or product or initiative that you are outlining. It really needs to be a candid self-assessment of what is the reality that your customers are dealing with, the reality of how you’re delivering on expectations, then making adjustments to it.”

Stephen Polk, chairman, president and CEO, R.L. Polk & Co.

“Stick to your game. Don’t let other competitors run your business. Don’t get caught in a fact-and-react loop, where they tripled their offer so you’re going to quadruple it. You have to realize that the economy might be different, but it doesn’t change the fundamentals. It just makes sense to stick to what you know is right. Be mindful of your competition, but don’t let them run your business.”

Gregg Solomon, president and CEO, MotorCity Casino Hotel

“The one-year plan is set in stone, but as much as I say it’s set in stone, you still need the ability to move and adjust. It’s just that when you move and adjust, make sure your modifications are still within some guideline of business practice, so you don’t blow your brains out on any of your particular metrics.”

Brett Healy, president and CEO, Webasto Roof Systems Inc.


Learn to do accurate self-assessments.

Don’t run your business on your competition’s terms.

Stick to your plan, but remain flexible when necessary.